When life gets messy and Valentine’s Day is sort of a rip off

this post was originally posted march 7, 2014 and titled why cinderella and her story is totally bogus

So, everyone’s day looked pretty special on Facebook and all of social media, huh? Nobody filled in their “status update” with: “Well, he packed his bags and said goodbye.” OR “We had this great thing planned and he fell asleep on the sofa.” If wasn’t quite the fairy tale ending you’d hoped for, eh?

Those cards and roses, they’re a real nice idea, huh? They just sort of bring the Walt Disney Magic right into your living room for just a moment, don’t they? Well, maybe that’s not your idea of “romance” but for me it was. I mean, everyone has a different fairy tale, ya know? And mine was all wrapped up with glass slippers and happily ever after.

Don’t worry, it didn’t take me long to realize the truth. Yeah, that Cinderella and her story is a total rip off.

I mean, I know it happened to you– don’t get me wrong.

I know your sweet man waited until you were married to hold your hand. I know he asked your dads permission, and even got down on one knee. But it didn’t happen for all of us.

Oh, we dreamed that it would, didn’t we? But life gets icky and stories get stuck on us like mud- and before you know it, we’re just a mess. A mess of ladies walking around looking for something to make us new. Well, it’s surely our Prince Charming, right? He will come and rescue us from this mess of a life and make all of our dreams come true.

Ummm, maybe not so much.

Because you see, there’s this thing called life and like I said, it gets all messy. I want to hear the Cinderella story that tells of Cinderella all crazy and emotionally unstable or just down right mean because she spent all that time under the oppression of a wicked stepmother. Or the Prince who ends up being a starving artist because he’s sick and tired of being royal and needing to meet the crazy expectations placed on him.

The Cinderella who partied back in the day and struggles with her past choices? Or the Cinderella who didn’t know what in the world to do so she just did the unthinkable and aborted that baby. She wishes she had known better but what could she do? It’s not like she could turn to her stepmother.

How about the Prince and his past lifestyle of rich and famous? Now he has found himself swarming in debt because he’s trying to have everything his parents had, in his young life.

What about the Cinderella and Prince who just couldn’t ever seem to lower their expectations– so their children grew up hating them because they were never.able.to.just.be.kids. Or what about the Cinderella and Prince who lost a baby and now don’t know how to cope with life together.

Whew, it can be a messy life.

The good news is God is a God of changing stories.


That man of mine use to be gone all of the time. I was a sports widow. At night, when he and the baby were sleeping- I would sneak out and go to the clubs and dance with strangers. On weekends we watched MTV and he played video games all day. We were a mess. Just trying to figure it all out and having no idea what in the world we were doing.

Hey, if that is your life ^^ more power to ya. For me. For us? We were dying.

Now, that man and I have a crazy, deep love. We have a loud house with eight crazy kids running around. We even have a few pets to add to the mix.

He’s not a romantic, oh I wish he was. But he makes me hot tea each morning and always tells me he loves me.

He still loves sports and I love that he does. It’s a family thing now. We do it all together.

I still have issues, but I don’t kick him out of the bed (yeah, with my feet… really kick him) when I think he’s not listening. Now, when I’m sad- he understands I need a little extra love that day.

You get the point.

You know– we almost didn’t make it here. Nope. That picture at the top? The one of him cooking me dinner tonight (a RARE man thing in our house) We had been married for a year when we decided to call it quits. We were both tired. One swift slap to his face and he said, “That’s it- I’m out of here” and he was gone.

And I thought it was forever.

We knew we needed a change. We found a church, people loved us- like crazy get down in the dirty parts of life type of love, not just sit on the pew next to you quietly type of love. And it changed our lives.

Jesus in them, changed our lives.

Many times I have thought about what life would have been like if we had just given up. Oh, it seemed easier at the time. I’m sure it seemed easier lots of times back then. But now, I couldn’t imagine it any different.

Ever been there?

Here are a few simple things that have helped make our marriage work. Made it fun. Got us through a lot of ups and downs. Maybe you’re married, maybe you’re not. Maybe you’re on a break, maybe you’re finished all together. Here’s the deal: pack this little bit of goodness away for a rainy day… you just never know when “prince charming” may come waltzing in to swoop ya off your feet.

#1. Talk, Talk, Talk. We talk about everything. I mean every.single.thing.  Weather, plans, dreams, sadness, food, new discoveries, what the kids are learning, what tomorrows plans are. You name it- we talk about it. My man is who I talk with most.

#2. We send love messages. You see- in this day there are so many different ways to share love with people we should be ashamed of ourselves if we’re not! Send a quick text message, shoot a quick picture of where you are, what you’re doing and tell him you wish he was there with you. Leave him a little love note where he’ll see it when he gets ready for work. In some way- love that man with words everyday.

#3 I don’t expect him to be a girl. This one is a hard one. But it’s true. He’s all man. And he thinks like a man too! (imagine that) He leaves his clothes on the floor- drives me nuts! His garage is messy, he doesn’t clean the kitchen like me and he hates to make the bed. But you know what? If I lost that man of mine, I don’t think I could ever make the bed again or even pick up his last pair of clothes lying on the ground. He may be messy- but he’s special and I’d miss every.single.thing.about him if he was gone.

#4 You see, there’s this thing guys like- and yeah… they really do love it when you’re all cute and kissy, and all that stuff… umm, yeah- you get the point. I think he’d be happy with everyday- but let’s just be sure it’s more than four times once a week ; ) What?!! It’s true– he’s thinking about it… go on ask him. (he, he)

#5 I’m not my sweet mans holy spirit- I know, I know- you’ve got this Jesus thing all figured out. You’re the Proverbs 31 woman through and through. But I’ve had to learn the hard way, I’m not my sweet man’s holy spirit. What God is teaching me isn’t always what he’s teaching my man. So really, I can’t be all mad at him if he’s not doing his quiet time quite like mine. Or if he’s not _____________ you fill in the blank. My job as a wife is to live a life of godliness for all to see and pray for my man that God would speak to his heart. And really? Trust me- a daddy who comes home and does devotion with the family because HE feels led to do so is so much more fruitful than the daddy who comes home and does devotion because you’ve whipped him into submission by nagging = (

#6 I’ve learned to let my man- be my man. He’s not your man. He doesn’t have flowers delivered, or even take me to dinner very much (we’re both too cheap for that) But he loves me in his silly ways– Like his Valentine’s gift this year? 14 ways he loves me, sent via text message:

No diamonds for this girl- no thank you. I’ll take my man, just the way he is. And don’t you go thinking I’m being prideful or thinking I know it all because the truth is- I’ve spent many a day wishing my man was your man because your man did something like, cook you a fancy dinner and my man made ramen noodles. =) But we have to realize, ladies: each of our men have a way they love and it is special in their own little way.

Those are just a few- I’m sure you know of a bunch more. Honestly? Jesus is the one who makes it all work here in our house. The rest is just a little bit of fun. When I’m mad, It’s Jesus that reminds me to love. When I’m being selfish- it’s Jesus that reminds me to love my man more than myself. My man? He will disappoint me time and time again. But Jesus, his love will never fail. That Jesus. He is always so good.

Love big, have fun, and live YOUR happily ever after! Break the mold, be crazy! Laugh at mistakes, say I’m sorry… dance like you’re 20! Don’t you even try to be like Cinderella, sister. Her story has been played out.

Dancing like a crazy lady through this thing called life,



Some of you have asked how to receive posts in your email: it’s simple. On the lower right hand side of the screen there should be a “follow” button. Click and enter your email. It’s totally safe.


Um, yeah… is there an ad below here? A creepy ad  (yes, directly below here, some strange video, perhaps?) I didn’t put it there

= / And I didn’t choose what it will advertise. Sorry about that.

Whatever you do- don’t ever homeschool.

Featured Image -- 2003

Because I’ve had chats upon chats this week and last about homeschooling. This. Because my inbox is full of mommas with insecure hearts- feeling inadequate as they humbly teach, train, and nurture their children before they fly the nest. This.

this. because i am just as insecure as you.

– Kati


“There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die is a process of learning.”  J Krishnamurti

disclaimer:  please, just continue on your happy way today if you are one to be sensitive to a certain type of school- be it homeschool, unschool, public school, any type of school– as I do not intend to offend ; )

I only intend to take one, maybe two of you? on a tip-toe journey through a crazy thing called:

this.right here… this girl. THIS homeschool mommas real “live”  life.


Here i am. Standing amongst all things we call, in our home, opportunities of learning- strewn out all over once again as I tackle a school room move.


Yup, there it is- all behind…

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Give Me Gratitude or Give Me Debt : From Momastery


 Enjoy the sweetness of THIS today? Shared from the heart of Glennon over at Momastery

Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR




“Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new.”   ―  Thoreau

So why not just laugh now? – G

“If we do not feel grateful for what we already have, what makes us think we’d be happy with more?” — Unknown

“Recently I posted a picture of myself in my kitchen, and I immediately started receiving generous messages from people wanting to help me “update” it. Along with their messages came pictures of how my kitchen could look, if I’d just put some effort and money into it.
I’ve always loved my kitchen, but after seeing those pictures I found myself looking at it through new, critical eyes.  Maybe it was all wrong. Maybe the 80′s counters, laminate cabinets, mismatched appliances and clutter really were mistakes I should try to fix. I stood and stared and suddenly my kitchen looked shabby and lazy to me…” – See more at: http://momastery.com/blog/#sthash.YdL4yC3C.dpuf


This post beat me up today ; ) No, it’s great… —> Go on over there and read it.
Much love,

“Am I Enough?”


Good morning, sister. Need a pick me up? She speaks to my heart this morning.
“Every day I have this desire to accomplish something. But every day it feels I accomplish nothing…
When it feels I didn’t accomplish Super Tidy Housewife, or Spiritual Sage, or Fun Mommy, or Adoring Wife, or Betty Crocker, or the Likeable Friend…when I’m none of those titles, and all the opposites…”


Barren to Beautiful

This week my husband walks in the door after a long day at work to find: dishes piled in the sink, laundry all over the living room, the beef for dinner still in a frozen block, and me…looking like Frump Queen. He is gracious. And tells me to take a nap. I instantly obey. (Inwardly rejoicing.) And while I am sleeping for 45 minutes, he manages to clean the whole house…while watching our daughter. (A feat I clearly was incapable of accomplishing today. Many days.)

One part of my feels grateful the house is clean. I can relax now, right? But the other (bigger) part of me feels guilty and defeated. He just worked the whole day at his job, and then came home and did mine, too. Isn’t this why I am staying home? 

Every day I have this desire to accomplish something. But every day it feels I accomplish nothing. I…

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To die for coconut coffee


While visiting family in Colorado last month they introduced us to heaven in a cup.

Coconut coffee.

Now, before you coconut haters get your little panties in a wad- don’t judge. It’s delish and totally not “coconut’ie”.


Here’s the scoop. Coconut is good for you. I don’t have to go on and on about it’s benefits, just hit Google.

I will say, in our home… we use coconut oil for everything. (That’s not milk, I know) If you came for a visit, you would see us using it as lotion, hair cream, tooth paste and burn relief. If you came for breakfast, you’d eat it in your gluten free pancakes.

Can you tell I’m in love?

Ok, ok, here’s a handy link on coconut and the health benefits. And here’s one on cooking with coconut oil.

Back to coffee. THIS coffee doesn’t need much (if any) added sweetening. And trust me: I’m a sugar addict. [arg! It’s so bad!]  Also, you really do want to either shake it up in a mason jar or blend it in your blender on high for the frothy goodness. Yup, my mouth just watered. Also, the coconut milk you put on your cereal just won’t do the trick with this. I made enough for seven cups and we used almost 1/2 a can. It would take a TON of your cold coconut milk.

Well- back to my coffee.

Happy day!

why i’m breaking up with facebook


A few weeks ago, I felt a stirring in my little heart that I needed to break up with Facebook. In a chat with my sweet man, after I had made this decision– I said, “Facebook is a trap for people with helping hearts”

At least for me.

Because I want to help everyone. I want to answer all questions right away- I want to solve every problem, send flowers if you’re hurting, and kiss your little boo-boos! Because I want to share with you how easy eating healthy is, how simple it is to do fun things with your littles– I want to share with you adoption is so close to the heart of God and worth all of the pain and trouble.  I want to share with you, I’m just as tired as you, just as broken as you, and God’s grace covers it all.

But there are these little people in my life- the ones who are always watching. And their little eyes remind me:

There are six little people in my home who will lead generations to come. Am I spending too much time staring at screens, sharing recipes, good advice, and encouragement with my sweet friends and not enough time bending low to kiss the boo-boos of tomorrows generation?

Of course I love to write- and Facebook is such a powerful way of sharing your story with people to encourage them, help them feel like their story is amazing and God is so totally in love with them. But then God always reminds me:

You don’t have to be trending to make a difference. It’s all about the one.

Then there are these groups I lead where using Facebook as a tool for communication is so effective. And God reminds me:

Do you really need to lead so many groups?

Today- this article in the Huffington Post was amazing- spot on, and totally great.

I could just take a break– but this girl and her personality just doesn’t do breaks well. In fact, I’ve done a year long “Facebook fast” before– but here I am again. Addicted to chatting it up on Facebook.  I’m strange, a little OCD perhaps? ; ) For instance, one day- my little blog, writingwithintrees was spiking over 6,000 hits at one time. Ummm,  I freaked out and felt like I needed to send everyone a thank you card. For real.

Issues, I know.

I promised that day, I would never. ever. look at numbers again. And I haven’t.

Now, I have peace and never feel like rushing to the post office to buy postage for 6,000 cards. I also don’t have an overwhelming desire to pump out the ‘next best post’– because I have no idea how many people are actually reading my broken words.

So, when I decided to delete my Facebook account forever, I told my man, I’m cutting off my hand.

If your eye—even your good eye—causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your hand—even your stronger hand—causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” Matthew 5:29-30


OH my gosh- I’m sorry.. I know this is such a selfish and stupid post– but maybe you’re an addict like me? Probably not.


But John Piper puts it best:
“Am I wanting to look at Twitter before I look at Jesus? It sounds stupid. That’s how stupid sin is.


I check email first thing when I wake up– Facebook second, Jesus last.

Here are some things to think about if you are considering doing a Facebook detox.

There are two ways:

There is a “take a break” mode where your wall and pictures are just hidden until you log back in again. When you select this option– most of your things go hidden. It’s like, “Hey- where did Kati go? She was just here.”  However, not ALL past messages and conversations go hidden– it’s so confusing. BUT, the good news is- when you sign back on, it’s all there waiting for you as though you never left.

HOWEVER– when you opt to DELETE your account, everything is gone after 14 days. All of your past messages, all of your pictures, groups, things you wrote on groups–everything. So, when your friend searches for that message you sent last year with, whatever info they need at the time– it’s gone. Let’s hope they have your phone number or email address ; )

I think it’s apparent in my life story and view of grace, Jesus and all things considered: I don’t hold to the view of

“You have to spend all of your time WITH Jesus, READING ABOUT Jesus, and NEVER do anything else fun with your life…” I do, however, hold to the view of: When Jesus changes your life like he did mine? You sort of want to be with him a whole bunch.

So, when I say things like: checking Facebook first is a sin in MY life. I don’t mean it as a ball and chain sort of thing.

I simply mean, for ME. Spending more time with Jesus helps me mother the way I should. Helps me love my man the way I should. Helps me take captive my thoughts the way I should instead of thinking I should be more like this person or that person. It helps me sit. be still. and listen more.

Back in the olden days, before Zuckerberg made his millions-people called friends, sent letters, in fact, texting wasn’t even that big (and still cost a fortune back then!) but you see now, the lives of everyone is available for view 24/7. Twenty-four hours a day I can turn on my screen, pick up my phone and lose myself in a world of perfect reality.

THIS. this video. Watch this video. See the woman with the cake, missing life? That is me.

My– oh my, if only we could see our lives on screen– we would see where we should truly change.

The truth is, I am truly rich– right here. And I am committed to helping people around me; hugging the necks of hurting people — no matter who they are and what they’ve done. And I’m just a phone call away and a cup of fancy tea and sweet conversation with anyone on my “friend list.”

And when my children are grown- I hope and pray they spend more of their lives with their head held high living life, rather than bent low watching screens pass by– while real life passes them by.

Because after all, they can’t be the people they can’t see. And I want them to see a lot of Jesus in me.

Teaching love through the muddiness of life. [how God uses broken people like you and me]


I’m not sure when it hit me.

The reality. He’s not mine and what in the world am I going to do with this teenager? Besides, what in the world were his parents thinking? Sending him to live with two 28 year olds raising four children of their own in a tiny little town called Chelsea?

I wonder, was it the first time I had to use the phrase– “If you don’t fix your attitude, I’m going to have to take your ipod and cell phone” or was it the first time he raised his voice at me– raised it louder than any child ever had.

Perhaps it was when I raised mine in reply.

I remember feeling very scared. Scared we were going to ruin him for sure and he would never know Jesus.

“Hello Gibson’s-

How are you guys?? Doing well??

I miss you all like crazy when I got back to my Taiwan’s home. 

Remember we used to riding bikes, planting garden, swimming together, cleaning house, also traveling? Do all the things together as a family… and you guys took your free time, come to my school games, I’m really thankful and love you guys sooooo much, more than I can say and write. 

Gibson’s shone the glory, mercy, peaceful around people, let people feel how gorgeous and wonderful this family could be…

I’m glad I could meet you guys, I have learned a lot from you all, learn how to babysitting, how to use the mower cutting the grass without using scissors… also learn how to be independent without parents around, learn how to work hard as a man, the most important is loving people like God does!!!

I miss Gibson’s and love them…, hope we can get together again like we used to be… 

Pray for Gibson’s to do well on everything… “


Because he knew us best. He lived every moment, saw our good and bad. And appearance only lasts so long, right?

Sound familiar?

It only makes sense that my eyes fill with tears and I’m full of emotion when I read his words. Words sent from across the world– words handwritten and sent right to our little place we call home.When I opened the package and saw his writing, my heart leaped and I cried just a bit. Even now, as I type– my eyes fill with tears, at just the simple thought of his words written on paper for us.

There’s no obligation now. He doesn’t live here, eat here, rely on our transportation. He’s home– free to live his life. Yet, each morning– we talk. It’s his night, our morning and always– there’s Ting.


When he writes to tell us he finally attended church for the first time in Taiwan, along side his Dad— my heart leaped again.




Then he says, “I was the only teenager there and the crowd was small.” And I think,

he went.

He continues, “It felt good-like being back with the church in America- I could feel Jesus close. We sang songs and worshiped our God”

I wanted to wrap my arms around his tiny self and whisper, “He is always close.” I wanted to look into his eyes and tell him, “You are not alone in this scary journey. God is there. He is real, can’t you feel Him?”


And I think to myself, is this it? Is this what it is like, sending them out– our little children, out to the wolves? How will my heart take this ever again? How can I do this not once but four more times and possibly even more? How do I let go?


How do I trust that God is God and He is Good. How can I Trust that my children listen to God, not me. How do I trust that He is the Lord of their life and I’m not just lording over them. 

After we’ve spent years raising our voices louder than anyone else ever has– threatening to take away everything under the sun, for whatever reason irritates us that day; said, what feels like, one million I’m sorry’s, cried over math problems, worried over reading and relationships– then blistered our knees in prayer–

How do we know they will be alright?

How do we trust they will seek Him? How do we know we haven’t ruined them for life? How do we know this everyday thing we call, life– hasn’t left it’s ugly mark all over their souls?

We know, because we’ve loved.

We know, because He loved.

We know, because we fell.

Time and time again, we fell.

We muddied our knees once more, wiped up our mess and tried again.

Just like they will one day do.

We loved through spit up, spilled milk and mis-spelled words. We loved when it was hard and they were ugly. We loved just a bit harder when we felt like giving up. We went to games and cleaned the house. We rode bikes and said, no. We showed glory, mercy, and peace to people — so they could see Jesus. We lived. Together. Every moment.

And they watched.

He watched.

and now he says, “I know the most important thing is loving people like God does.”

He doesn’t say, “Why did you take my ipod that time, or yell back at me when I was rude.” Not, “Why did you make me go to bed early some nights and tell me I couldn’t have everything I wanted.”

He says, you taught me love. 

And I think, really? Us?

Us, with our crazy bed hair, messy house; and crying baby? Us, with the five year old who’s always in your business and the sometimes moody 11 year old? Us? Married, with our “discussions” that can sometimes become heated or long and drawn out?

Us, with our constant talk of that crazy love for this person you’ve never heard of– this person called Jesus. Us? Messy, desperate for grace, constantly in the mud of life… We taught you love?

He simply says, yes.

And that great big God of ours, so full of good, simply reminds me– it’s not about what you do, Kati. It’s about what I’m doing.

Because I Am. And I Am good. And I Am always there, can’t you feel me?


May you trust– they are watching you, He is using you, and He is always good.

Much love, friends.

Jude 1:2,



Um, yeah… is there an ad below here? A creepy ad  (yes, directly below here, some strange video, perhaps?) I didn’t put it there = / And I didn’t choose what it will advertise. Sorry about that.